Monday I went down for my first "test dose" as they call it of Radioactive Iodine. It was an interesting experience as they put me in a lead lined room, and rolled in a cart with my medicine on it. I was given gloves, then had to administer the medicine to myself. I was able to go home Monday night.
Tuesday, we headed back to MD Anderson and I did a full body scan. For 36 minutes I went through the scan with my eyes closed, praying, reciting scripture, singing songs in my head, and focusing on things that are "true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Things that are excellent and worthy or praise." I went through all the things I am so thankful for, which is so much. I came out with a sense of peace and slept fairly well Tuesday night.
Tuesday night I also had a more truthful conversation with my kids. Gavin just hasn't been himself and I was fearful that he had something really scary going on in his head. And I think I was right. As I told them I was sick and would have to be away for awhile he started asking a lot of questions. And with each question answered, he seemed to be a little more relieved. I just kept telling them after all this, I would be better. I would get to play with them again, and read books, and have my energy back. Gavin took it well. Hadley just kept asking, "Why you have a boo-boo on your neck?" And kept saying, "When it is better you snuggle me?" Ellie broke out in complete hysterics. She didn't seem scared about my health, more sad that I wasn't going to be home for awhile and that I couldn't tell them how long. Frank and I were told anywhere from 7-10 days...or so we thought....
Wednesday morning Frank and I went to meet with my Endocrinologist to go over my body scan. When the nurse took me back they had to re-do my blood pressure because I was nervous and it was high along with my heart rate. But once I saw the doctor I was relieved to hear it hadn't spread anywhere and I would be doing a low dose of RAI (Radioactive Iodine). She said it was still in my neck. But I was told a few weeks earlier to expect a little speckles in there. Frank and I were breathing sighs of relief and were thinking that with the dose I was getting, I would be home in three days. I had asked her how many days and she said to talk to Nuclear Medicine about it when I went there and we were to go there now. So we left the office, upbeat and happy. I called my family and was really just so joyful and thankful. So we got a few prescriptions filled and walked over to the Mays Building across the street to meet with Nuclear Medicine and get dose of RAI. (Which was a big feat considering I am hypothyroid...it's another building across the street from the main MD Anderson building..but my news..gave me strength.)
After signing my life away that I understand the risks, I was put in a room and a cart wheeled in again. I put gloves on and got the glass jar out of the lead container and had to administer the medication to myself. This time a much higher dose than Monday. They said I would be in complete isolation for about two hours. About 3.5 hours later they came back in and said, "So we are thinking around November 27th you can be with your family again since you have small kids." I am sure I gave him a confused look as I said, "You mean October?" He said, "No, November." I asked him why, and he proceeded to tell me that I have a "significant" amount of tissue left in my neck, "kind of A lot" and that it wasn't just speckles. The reason for the low dose was because my scan showed Tuesday that my body uptakes the radiation well. It has nothing to do with the dose, the isolation time has everything to do with how much tissue is left. This is where Frank and I were confused. If it were speckles, the radiation would eat the speckles and my body would then get rid of it. But because there is more of a mass, it will attack it but then slowly get rid of it. I asked him if we could get Frank out of the waiting room to go over it, as my head is and was complete mush. So we walked out and Frank is smiling after talking to friends and family telling them I'd probably be home for Halloween. He sees my tears, suddenly looks confused, and is wondering what is wrong. I went back there so happy when he last saw me. We were high fiving.
The doctor went over everything with us and said just to be cautious, these were the dates to go by in their professional opinion. Basically, it is what it is and they printed off the paper with my regulations and rules and handed them over to us.
I went in for a second scan Thursday, yesterday. It pretty much outputted the same dates. I am allowed to be around adults all I want. But children 7 and under, not freely until November 25. I can go to the grocery store, mall, movies, walk around like a normal person, just can't be loving on my kids.
However, starting November 6th (Gavin's birthday), I can spend 6 minutes of loving on each of them a day. Yes, you read that right, 6 minutes. And I can spend an hour within a meter of them but no closer. Now, how are we going to explain that?? I can see you, but you can't come near me. No family dinners, no books, no games, homework, etc. It sucks. No other way to explain it. Gavin and Ellie may "kind of get it" but it won't be easy. And how in the world will I ever explain that to my two year old? We are still trying to figure out how we are going to do this. I definitely want to get my 6 minutes in with them a day that they are allowing me. But it is going to be hard to only have that amount of time with them. Especially after being away from them for so long an then just popping in for six minutes a day.
So to say I have been emotional would be an understatement, as I miss my babies.
The LONGEST I HAVE EVER been away from my kids is 3 days. I have been on trips with Frank, and Girlfriends. But it is always 3 nights, 4 days.
But as I told Frank after getting the Isolation news, we still need to focus on the positive, "It didn't spread." And I am SO incredibly thankful for that. Because we could be dealing with something much scarier than time away. So that was definitely an answered prayer!
In the meantime I am at my parents, who are taking very good care of me. I haven't had too many side effects from the RAI. My throat is a little sore, and I am exhausted from being hypo, and a little nauseous on and off. But I am thankful I am able to be with my parents and that they live so close. And it has been nice spending quality time with them that I haven't gotten to do in awhile. I'm back in the same house I was born in. My mom is making me my lovely low iodine meals, and my parents have been giving me lots of encouragement and tissues when needed for tears.
I have been on the phone with the kiddos and talking to them, and they sound good. My Mother in law has pretty much taken my place and I don't know what we would do without her either right now. The kids are loving getting spoiled on and are feeling loved. And they have moved into my bed. They are loving that they get to sleep with Daddy every night. Tonight they are doing "tent city" with him, so they are stoked about that too. Hmmm....maybe they won't be too excited when I come home...
The first thing Gavin asked Frank yesterday was, "When is Mommy coming home?" He told him his birthday and he let out a big, "YES!!" They were all pretty excited about that. They just don't know the 6 minute rule yet and I'm not quite sure how that will be taken.
Tomorrow (Saturday) after 12:30 I get to quit my Low Iodine diet. And Sunday I get to start synthroid to start breathing some life back into me. I am praying that this time goes by quickly. Praying that this treatment kills it all and that I won't have to have another surgery, or repeat this treatment, and we can be done with this thyroid cancer business for good.
Thank you for all your prayers. And for the continuous outpouring of love that I continue to feel. For those of you who contributed to the "Spring is Coming.." Book....I got it yesterday. It was beyond thoughtful and I was very surprised and overwhelmed with the love you all have shown me. My mom and I both cried (and laughed) as we read all your letters. It is something I will cherish for the rest of my life.
These last few months I am not sure I have ever felt so loved. So thank you!!! Spring is coming!!! Heck, Thanksgiving is coming!! :) Oh what a glorious day that will be!!